Six of the ten most competitive cities for buyers in the US are in Washington State, according to a Redfin analysis, but Seattle is not one of them. Instead, relatively affordable Seattle-area suburbs are the sizzling hot markets, especially Spanaway, Lacey and Tacoma.
We are barely 1 ½ weeks into the New Year and we are seeing a lot of traffic through single family homes that just hit the market in the suburbs and many are going under contract quickly. Properties in the city are not moving as fast but it is still a seller’s market. Condos in the city are selling but that market is a little cooler.
What is our prediction for 2021? We never have a crystal ball and therefore cannot predict exactly where the market is going. This year, making predictions is even more challenging than in past years. Two very distinct things are happening in our real estate market right now: demand for homes is surging in many areas bolstered by low interest rates and high demand which is driving prices up; yet, simultaneously some homeowners are struggling to make their mortgage payments and may be forced into foreclosure when assistance programs end or their income continues to be negatively affected by the pandemic which could dampen home values if it results in an increase of inventory that is not quickly absorbed.
It is not just homebuyers who are looking for better deals and more space in the suburbs. Apartment vacancies in Seattle have gone from 4.4% in February 2020 to 10.3% at the end of 2020. As vacancies rose, rent prices went down in the city. At the end of the year, Seattle rents were down 22% since the start of the pandemic in March, according to the latest report from ApartmentList. Seattle rent prices declined the second fastest among the country’s 100 largest cities. According to USPS data, large cities lost the most people during the first seven months of the pandemic. People are moving out of cities and relocating to the suburbs. As a result, more affordable mid-sized cities and smaller suburbs have seen rents rising throughout the pandemic and vacancies going down.
Washington Eviction Ban Extended Again
The eviction moratorium has been in place since March 2020 and was already extended several times. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has again extended the moratorium; this time through the end of March 2021. The moratorium bans, with limited exceptions, residential evictions and late fees on unpaid rent. It also requires landlords to offer residents a repayment plan on unpaid rent.
We are working on bringing new inventory on the market in the next couple of weeks: 2 bedroom condo in Capitol Hill and 3 bedroom townhouse in Greenwood.
We’d love to hear from you
Any questions, comments, or feedback? Contact us any time.
Happy New Year!
Kerstin & Krisanne
P.S.: We are moving our office to the other side of I-5 next week. We found a better location with more sunlight, expanded parking, easy access for you and great views of Mt. Rainier in a fantastic class A building at 10700 Meridian Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133.